The Ukraine crisis and Russia's renewed assertiveness in the region have vast implications for Europe's Eastern Neighborhood. The situation in Ukraine underscores the need for a reinvigorated strategy for the region which effectively addresses the most pressing political, economic, and security challenges facing the countries that remain on the margins of democratic transformation in Europe's East. This strategy should be a joint effort of the United States and the European Union (EU) and consist of consolidating the accomplishments to date, preventing rollback of freedoms, and setting the stage for the next stage of integration.

In order to enhance the debate and further raise the profile of the EU's Eastern Partnership and a strategy for Europe's East in Washington and beyond, the Atlantic Council, in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Latvia, will seek to generate new ideas and policy-relevant proposals to address the key challenges in the region. In January 2015, Latvia assumes the Presidency of the EU, which offers a significant opportunity to revitalize the EU's Eastern Partnership and to advance this policy at the 2015 Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga.

A Galvanizing Conference

On January 30, 2015, the Atlantic Council will host a one-day conference in Washington, DC on a transatlantic strategy for Europe's East. The conference will also serve as a public launch of Latvia's EU Presidency in Washington, anchored by H.E. Edgars Rinkēvičs, Latvia's Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Atlantic Council would bring together the region's leaders, decision-makers from both sides of the Atlantic, and top experts in the field to spotlight what is at stake and galvanize support for a reenergized Eastern Partnership policy. In addition to Minister Rinkēvičs, prominent European Union officials and high-level US representatives would anchor the event. The conference would be structured with a mixture of engaging moderated discussions and keynote addresses. The Atlantic Council would also seek to engage representatives from the broader transatlantic community, including thought leaders, senior government officials, military leaders, industry, think tanks, academia, and former officials. The event will be preceded by a reception to mark the beginning of Latvia's EU Presidency hosted by the Embassy of Latvia, as well as an off-the-record workshop to help generate core ideas for a transatlantic strategy for Europe's East.

In order to reach a wider audience of policymakers and influencers, the Council would implement a comprehensive communications strategy that would entail press outreach to top-tier international news outlets, including newspapers and networks with global audiences and international news networks. The Council would also webcast the event live and publicize it to the Council's network on social media channels. The Council's communication strategies at such conferences have a record of ensuring key messages are amplified to millions of viewers, subscribers, and followers.

This effort builds upon the success and impact of the Council's "Toward a Europe Whole and Free" conference, a special tribute to NATO and the European Union on the anniversaries of their historic enlargements. In April 2014, this two-day event gathered many leading thinkers and policymakers to discuss the origins, legacy, and path forward for the concept of a Europe whole and free.